UFC 259- Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling: Prediction and Analysis

Published 03/04/2021, 9:58 AM EST
DALLAS, TX – SEPTEMBER 08: Aljamain Sterling celebrates his submission victory over Cody Stamann in their bantamweight fight during the UFC 228 event at American Airlines Center on September 8, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


UFC 259 has three title fights to serve up on a platter. The first of three has Bantamweight champion Petr Yan making his first title defense against Aljamain Sterling. After them, Amanda Nunes will defend her women’s Bantamweight strap against Megan Anderson. This show is headlined by Jan Blachowicz defending the Light Heavyweight title against Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.

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Petr Yan (15-1) won the vacant title by beating Jose Aldo in a clinic at UFC 251. However, Aljamain Sterling (19-3) had already staked his claim at the top contender spot when he choked out Cory Sandhagen with ease at UFC 250. Aljo is an elite grappler while Yan is one of the crispest boxers in the division right now.

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The stakes for this bout are high on both ends. Aljo has waited a long time to get a shot at this title. Their initial bout was booked for UFC 256, along with Nunes and Anderson. However, due to issues on Yan’s end, the fight was pushed. Now that these Bantamweight standouts will finally meet inside the cage, who wins?

UFC 259: Is Yan’s run going to be short-lived?

Yan has serious KO power for the division he is in. Every fight starts standing up, so he does have a very real chance at getting Aljo to engage there. He has 7 KO/TKO finishes to Aljo’s 2. However, that is where Aljo comes with his expertise in grappling. Grappler vs striker matchups can go either way, but the grapplers have a more varied skill-set to attack from. Sterling has 8 submission wins in his career.

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JULY 12: Petr Yan of Russia celebrates after his TKO victory over Jose Aldo in their UFC bantamweight championship fight during the UFC 251 event at Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 12, 2020 on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Aljo showed that he can easily get himself into a position to tap his opponents out. The Sandhagen finish was a genuine masterclass. However, Yan’s boxing and counter striking is a thing to behold. Aljo isn’t afraid to mix it up on the feet, so Yan will have his chances at excelling with his primary style.

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Both fighters have been matched evenly by oddsmakers so this is a tricky one to judge. The two have a varied skill-set but clearly excel in one area over the other. That doesn’t mean the other fighter will be uncomfortable in those situations. This will be a tense affair. We are going with Aljamain Sterling via submission to prematurely end Yan’s reign atop the division.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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